North Carolina researchers begin delving into biology of new invasive soil grub

In 2006 North Carolina sweetpotato growers began losing their crop to a grub pest that had already made its rounds in more southerly states. Plectris aliena Chapin, the larvae of which feed on sweetpotato tubers, has caused more than $16 million in lost revenue to the sweetpotato industry in North Carolina alone. North Carolina is the top producer of sweetpotatoes in the United States, accounting for 41 percent of national production. In 2010, the North Carolina sweetpotato industry generated over $173 million in revenue.

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